During the previous two sessions of the New York State legislature, our association had seen no progress being made to better protect children with life threatening allergies at risk for anaphylaxis in our school districts. One proposed piece of legislation after another had failed to gain enough votes to pass the Assembly or the Senate. But for 2014, as the old saying goes, ‘….third time’s the charm!’
June 20, 2014
On the last day of the 2014 legislative session in Albany, two bills related to anaphylaxis, epinephrine and NYS schools were successfully approved. They were:
NYS S07262A & A07791A sponsored by NYS Senator Kemp Hannon and NYS Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti won more than enough votes to pass thru both houses successfully. The enacted bill will enable school districts to authorize school nurses to possess and administer auto-injectable epinephrine without a prescription, in the event of an emergency and to authorize (but not require) schools to provide and maintain epinephrine auto-injectors on school property.
Regarding NASE, Senator Hannon said, “The timely administration of epinephrine to a child suffering from a food allergy could mean the difference between life and death. This legislation will allow school employees, with proper training, to use epinephrine auto-injectors on students or staff in an emergency. With food allergies affecting between six and nine percent of young children, having trained staff with life-saving equipment in our schools is imperative.”
NYS S07758 & A09334B sponsored by NYS Senator John J. Flanagan and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan also was enacted. It relates to health services in schools and also to pupils afflicted with allergies, diabetes, asthma or another respiratory disease. If signed into law this bill would allow students with the proper prescriptions to carry and use epinephrine, glucagon, insulin and asthma rescue inhaler medications everywhere during the school day. While the bill’s title does not mention specific medications by name, they are listed within the text in extensive detail.
"As a mother, I know that while we want our children to enjoy all school activities, it is terrifying to think that their safety might be at risk,” said Catherine Nolan. “With the passage of this legislation, parents of students with severe allergies or asthma can rest assured that their children will have immediate access to treatment in case of a medical emergency. I am proud to sponsor this bill, and I urge the governor to sign this life-saving legislation into law."
The Allergy Advocacy Association is very grateful to Tom Abinanti, John Flanagan, Kemp Hannon and Catherine Nolan for their successful lawmaking efforts. We think that the upgrading and improving of current NYS guidelines and regulations into verifiable and enforceable laws is vitally important to saving lives from anaphylaxis. Our association firmly believes children with life-threatening allergies must be made safer in all of our schools be they urban or rural, large or small.
The next step is for Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign these bills into law. Opponents may still try to persuade him to veto the bills and prevent implementation. Issues involving children’s health at school are often very contentious, especially in New York.
Nevertheless, we urge the Governor to sign these bills as soon as possible. Any further delay may place the lives of school children at greater risk for anaphylaxis, a dangerous allergic reaction.
The Allergy Advocacy Association seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of anaphylaxis and improve access to life-saving epinephrine. Our association does not wish to become involved in any sort of political controversy. As a 501(c)3 Not For Profit we make no campaign contributions of any kind. Our attention is focused simply upon facts, not politics. Some of the facts that concern us are:
- About 15 million Americans have food allergies.
- One out of every 13 children have food allergies, about two in every classroom.
- Food allergies in children increased nearly 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.
- Twenty-five to 30% of anaphylactic reactions occur at school without a prior diagnosis.
- The vast majority of the epinephrine administrations in schools were performed by the school nurse (92%).
If you are a New York State resident and agree that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo should sign these bills, then please click here to sign our two petitions.
Our association greatly appreciates any support you may choose to give us. The vision of the Allergy Advocacy Association is a clear and direct one: “Not another life lost to anaphylaxis – not another life lost to ANY life-threatening allergies!”